“Beyond Chardonnay” – Great Whites

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 — We all know the reputation of white Burgundy (and the stratospheric prices that put the top wines beyond the reach of mere mortals). However, there are many great wines with character, complexity, and stunning flavors that are made in other regions. The buying committee thought it was time to showcase some of these and so we put this tasting together. Sourcing the wines from recent LCBO Classics Catalogues means that several are still available, albeit in small quantities. In addition, it’s possible that other vintages from the producers featured in this tasting will be offered in due course.

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We will start the evening off with a mystery reception wine. As well as giving your palate a chance to limber up, it will also give you a chance to mingle with fellow members and guests. Then the tasting will follow. It will cover a range of grapes and regions – from the familiar to the perhaps less familiar: Riesling (Alsace), Pinot Gris (Alsace), Chenin Blanc (South Africa), Marsanne (Hermitage), Viognier (Condrieu), Gruner Veltliner (Austria), as well as Savignan (Jura) and Fiano (Campagna).

These wines are made from grape varieties that in themselves have defined individuality and character, unlike Chardonnay, which is somewhat neutral, leaving it more up to the terroir and the wine-maker – for better or worse.

It’s not easy deciding the headliner of our tasting but one candidate would certainly be the 2015 Chante-Alouette Hermitage Blanc from Chapoutier. This 100% Marsanne is serious stuff with signature notes of peach, honey, white flowers, and bees-wax. This wine is enjoyable now but will evolve for a decade. Vying for contention would be Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling Clos St Urbain Rangen de Thann, 2004. Zind-Humbrecht surmounted the challenges of 2004 to make powerful, complex, balanced wines. Though harvested very ripe (but no botrytis) the Rangen was fermented dry. This should be a real treat.

Hard on their heels, we have another blockbuster wine, this time from a possibly less familiar appellation: Domaine du Pelican Arbois Savagnin Ouille, 2016. This was rated Superior / Distinguished by Julia Harding (Purple Pages) – “Unexpectedly fragrant, it has a leesy minerality but also orange pith and Victoria plum – an extraordinary range of aromas. But the mineral is dominant.” And a palate to match.

We could go on, but really the best thing is for you to come to the tasting to appreciate these extraordinary wines. The full list is given below.

To lead us through the tasting we are very pleased to have two of our Directors from the buying committee who are the architects of this event: Kim Berdusco and Rick Wood. Kim is a certified sommelier and wine educator currently teaching at the International Wine Education Guild (IWEG) and George Brown College. She is passionate about wine, especially Champagne (with a saber to prove it!). Rick is an avid wine collector, wine tourist, an amateur blogger (the winemuddler); he is muddling through his retirement years in search of good wine and the friendships that flow with it.

List of wines:

  • Chante-Alouette Hermitage Blanc M Chapoutier, 2015
  • Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling Clos St Urbain Rangen de Thann, 2004
  • Pichler-Krutzler Loibner Ried Loibenberg Grüner Veltliner, 2016
  • Domaine du Pelican Arbois Savagnin Ouille, 2016
  • De Meo Alessandra Fiano di Avellino, 2010
  • Domaine Ernest Burn Clos Saint Imer La Chapelle Goldert Pinot Gris, 2010
  • Remi Niero Les Ravines Condrieu, 2016
  • Ken Forrester The FMC Chenin Blanc, 2017
As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume.  Using public transit is strongly encouraged. Do not drink and drive.

Date: May 22, 2019
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Limit: 60 people
Members: $85*
Guests: $99*

*Price including HST

North York Memorial Community Hall
5110 Yonge St. (under the library)
North York Centre Subway

GST/HST account: 844742619 RT0001
Business Name: Winetasters Society of Toronto

Cancellations accepted up to May 17, 2019 — (Cindy Taylor, 416.458.3147 evenings only). No reservations by phone, please. No mail confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. First come first served basis.